Volume 4 Number 345 Wed. May 19, 2004    
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Front Pagearrow Tearful Sonia turns down PM job
Italian-born Sonia Gandhi tearfully bowed out of the race yesterday to become India's prime minister and rejected boisterous appeals from her Congress party MPs to reconsider the decision, opening the
 arrow AL, BNP leadership degrade democracy
Visiting US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Christina Rocca yesterday blamed the leadership of the two main political parties for degrading democratic practice in Bangladesh.
 arrow No more concessions, PM warns rivals
Prime Minister Khaleda Zia yesterday warned her political opponents that no more concession would be given to those who are pursuing politics of arson and destruction to create chaos.
 arrow NCBs to collect at least 20pc of top default loans
The four Nationalised Commercial Banks (NCBs) will have to collect at least 20 percent of their default loans from the top 20 defaulters of each of them by December this year, according to a new plan.
 arrow Outlaws slaughter 2 Bangla Bhai men
Underground outlaws slaughtered two operatives of Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB), injured six others and launched arson attacks on three houses in Naogaon on Monday.
 arrow Govt to give up power to withdraw graft case
The government will give up its power to withdraw graft cases at any stage and give the authority to the proposed Anti-Corruption Commission.
 arrow Mysterious death of rhino
Twelve-year-old Kancha, the male of the lone rhino couple of Dhaka zoo, died yesterday noon apparently after it slid down the stairs to the water tub on Sunday morning.
 arrow Tigers leave out Kapali
Alok Kapali has been dropped from the Bangladesh squad for the third and final one-day international against the West Indies at the Queen's Park Stadium here on Wednesday.
 arrow Criminals clash with cops
Four gangsters were killed and at least 19 others, including five law enforcers, were injured in a fierce gunfight between a criminal gang and a joint contingent of police and Bangladesh Rifles (BDR)at
 arrow Saifur agrees to give direct farm subsidy
The finance minister at a pre-budget meeting yesterday agreed in principle to a proposal of the NGOs to give direct subsidy to farmers to help keep agricultural production cost down at a reasonable level.
 arrow Maj Mannan stops campaigning
Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh (BDB) candidate for Dhaka-10 parliamentary by-polls retired army major MA Mannan has alleged that ruling BNP cadres attempted to kill him during an election campaign at Tejgaon
 arrow Ershad cases stalk JP
Jatiya Party (Ershad) is in tight corners with ruling parties using the dozen-plus pending cases against its Chairman HM Ershad as weapons to curtail its freedom of independent political stance as anopposition,
 arrow 20 Palestinians die in Israel raid
At least 20 Palestinians were killed and more than 30 wounded early yesterday as dozens of Israeli tanks and hundreds of troops swept through this Gaza refugee camp in one of the bloodiest operationsof
 arrow Fourth accused escaped arrest
There was yet another accused in the Ahsanullah Master murder case holed up in the North Badda house from where police arrested three on May 14.
 arrow MP murder, Bangla Bhai top Rocca-Hasina talks
US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Christina Rocca yesterday met Leader of the Opposition President Sheikh Hasina and discussed recent assassination of AL lawmaker Ahsanullah Master,
 arrow 6 JS bodies inactive for key vacancies
At least six parliamentary standing committees on different ministries are facing difficulty in holding meetings as key posts remain vacant following death or resignation of committee chairmen or dueto
 arrow Detectives seize arms
Detective police yesterday recovered four small arms from a house in Shahidbagh, Dhaka and arrested its tenant.
 arrow OC dies in truck chase
AKM Muhiuddin, officer-in-charge (OC) of city's Motijheel Police Station, died of cardiac arrest after a chase against an errant truck in the early hours of yesterday.
 arrow UCBL phone operator remanded
A Dhaka court yesterday placed a telephone operator of the United Commercial Bank Limited (UCBL), who is reportedly an associate of the car driver who allegedly set fire to a female employee of the bank
 arrow Bomb scare at DU turns a hoax
Moviegoers at the Teacher Student Centre (TSC) auditorium of Dhaka University yesterday felt the chill down their spines from a bomb alarm, which was proved a hoax.
 arrow Two students held on charge of abduction
Police raided Sir AF Rahman Hall of Dhaka University (DU) in the early hours of yesterday and arrested two students for allegedly abducting one person.
 arrow 30 hurt as JCD factions clash at BAU
At least 30 activists of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) were injured in a clash between two factions of the pro-BNP student body at Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU) in the early hours of yesterday.
Businessarrow Thrust on better preparation to derive Safta benefits
Bangladesh should be better prepared to derive maximum benefits from the South Asian Free Trade Area (Safta) agreement which comes into effect in January 2006, speakers told a seminar in Dhaka yesterday.
 arrow Potential for cross-border energy co-op still untapped
Lack of concerted efforts from governments and absence of a catalysing agency is eluding materialisation of cross-border energy cooperation among South Asian countries, a minister said at a seminar yesterday.
 arrow Garment exporters seek policy support to stay competitive after '04
Garment manufacturers and exporters have sought policy support from the government on reduction of lead-time, setting up of central bonded warehouse and simplified rules of origin to remain competitive
 arrow Lift restriction on KSA-bound cleaning, construction workers
Overseas recruiters have urged the government to withdraw the restriction on migrating to Saudi Arabia for cleaning and construction jobs.
 arrow Italy to take 1,500 workers from Bangladesh this year
Italy plans to frame a manpower policy in consultation with Bangladesh to regularise the flow of workforce as about 1,500 more Bangladeshi workers are expected to be employed in the European country this
 arrow WB plans to increase support for mid-income countries
The World Bank plans to increase its support for development in middle-income countries to encourage more private sector investment, according to an internal bank report, in a new strategy that couldsee
 arrow HSBC, Rancon Motors sign deal on interest-free car loan
The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Ltd (HSBC) in Bangladesh and Rancon Motors Ltd signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Dhaka yesterday on selling Mercedes-Benz vehicles to be financed
 arrow Emirates SkyCargo gets best cargo airline awards
Emirates SkyCargo won the Cargo Airline of the Year Awards in London recently.
 arrow STB launches new city tour programme in June
Singapore Tourism Board (STB) will launch a city tour programme titled 'Uniquely Singapore Shop and Eat Tours' in June.
 arrow EU flexible on WTO farm tariffs, ambassador says
The European Union is prepared to abandon a joint EU-US plan to reform global agriculture duties because of opposition by developing countries, an EU official said Monday.
Sportsarrow Cricket: Afridi-powered ARAF
Shahid Afridi lived up to his billing as a big attraction wi-th a cracking half-century to power ARAF Appa-rels into the final of the Grameen-Phone Corporate Cricket League.
 arrow Cricket: Calypso Cocktail
The moment you land at Port Salines International Airport, barely a 25-minute flight from St Vincent, you notice a difference.
 arrow Cricket: Back to his lucky ground
Having launched his international career with a match-winning 84 against mighty Australia four years ago, Yuvraj Singh not only announced his arrival in Indian cricket with a bang but also turned outto
 arrow Cricket: Umpires wired up
Umpires wearing ear-pieces and no-balls being called by the third umpire are two of the innovations set to be trialled by the International Cricket Council (ICC) at their Champions Trophy one-day tournament
 arrow Cricket: Court clears Akram of liquor ad affair
A Pakistani court Tuesday rejected a case against former cricket great Wasim Akram that he hurt religious sentiments by modelling in an Indian liquor advertisement, court officials said.
 arrow Cricket: Vaughan scare for England
England captain Michael Vaughan was rated a "serious doubt" for Thursday's first Test against New Zealand after twisting his right knee during batting practice at Lord's on Monday.
 arrow Cricket: Banning Zim not on ICC's mind
International Cricket Council (ICC) president Ehsan Mani said here Monday that suspending Zimbabwe from international cricket was "not on the radar" despite the ongoing player dispute in the troubledAfrican
 arrow Football: IOC names big five
London has been accepted as a candidate to stage the 2012 Summer Olympics, along with Paris, New York, Moscow, and Madrid, the IOC says.
 arrow Handball: Schools h'ball
Maple Leaf will take on Dhanmondi Tutorial in the final of the Maple Leaf First Mini handball (girls') tournament today.
 arrow Football: Eriksson hails Lampard
England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson has hailed Frank Lampard and hinted the Chelsea midfielder could force his way into the starting line-up at Euro 2004.
 arrow Football: Valencia's 'double' mission
Three years on from the heartache of losing a second successive Champions League final, Valencia will be desperate to claim a European trophy against Olympique Marseille in the UEFA Cup final on Wednesday.
 arrow Football: Honeymoon's over?
David Beckham's season with Real Madrid, which began with such a fanfare, has ended in a dispiriting defeat and a sending-off that symbolises his team's miserable campaign.
 arrow Football: Thai deal done
English Premier League side Liverpool have agreed "in principle" to sell a 30 per cent stake to Thailand, which will hold a public lottery to fund the deal, officials said Tuesday.
 arrow Olympic soccer at risk
Soccer could be dropped from this summer's Olympic Games if FIFA does not settle a new dispute over doping sanctions with World Anti-Doping Agency WADA and the International Olympic Committee.
 arrow Cricket: Magura cricket
Crescent Cricket Club moved into the semifinals of the Abdul Latif Smriti cricket tournament defeating Tauhid Smriti Sangha by four wickets at the Mithun-Musa-Kazal playground yesterday.
 arrow BSJA awards
Bangladesh Sports Journalists Association (BSJA) yesterday announced the list of its sports award recipients for the years 2002 and 2003.
Metropolitanarrow Don't make university a moneymaking machine
Speaker Jamiruddin Sircar yesterday urged the private university authorities to impart quality education.
 arrow 'Household filtration is cost-effective'
Household filtration process to remove arsenic from groundwater has proved cost-effective and easy to use, said the speakers at a day-long roundtable yesterday.
 arrow Govt forced JP to back amendment to constitution
Leader of the Opposition in Parliament and Awami League President Sheikh Hasina yesterday said the freedom of expression fled the country as the government "forced" Jatiya Party to support the 14th Amendment
 arrow 50 buses damaged in Savar
At least 50 buses were damaged when garment workers went on a rampage at Savar over the death of their colleague in a road accident yesterday morning.
 arrow Campaign against tobacco begins today
Speaker Jamiruddin Sircar will inaugurate a signature campaign against tobacco at his office today.
 arrow 'Over 14,000 mothers die a year'
More than 14,000 mothers die a year in the country due to pregnancy-related complications, said UNFPA Country Representative Suneeta Mukherjee at the closing ceremony of a workshop yesterday.
 arrow 'Introduce uniform family code to ensure women's rights'
Introduction of a uniform family code is a must so women of all faiths can enjoy equal rights in their family, speakers said at a seminar in the city yesterday.
 arrow Robbery in Ctg city house
Gunmen looted gold ornaments worth Tk 3 lakh and Tk 35,000 in cash from a house at Chanmari road in the city early yesterday.
Nationalarrow Villagers set an example
Failing to get government assistance, the villagers joined hands and did a great job voluntarily.
 arrow AL bags more seats than ruling alliance
Awami League-backed candidates got five out of nine posts of municipal chairman against two bagged by the ruling Four-Party Alliance in Barisal division.
 arrow Wives fight for Ershad Shikder's property
Two rival groups of Ershad Shikder's family are likely to be engaged in a legal battle soon over the property of the notorious criminal.
 arrow Govt decision triggers agitation
A government decision to scrap the planned Shahjalal Fertilizer Plant at Fenchuganj has sparked people's agitation in Sylhet.
 arrow Diarrhoea kills 12 in 3 dists
Diarrhoea claimed 12 lives in Gopalganj, Bandarban and Kishor-eganj districts in last week.
 arrow Housewife killed for dowry
A pregnant housewife was allegedly beaten to death by her husband for dowry at Kazirhawla village in Galachipa upazila on Sunday night.

The victim has been identified as Jowela, 26.

 arrow 20 injured in Nilphamari hospital fire
At least 20 people were injured when panicked people scrambled to come out of Nilphamari Hospital when a fire broke out there on Monday from an electric short circuit.
 arrow Manikganj by-polls: Six to contest for chairmanship
Manikganj Pourasabha by-election will be held on May 31.

After scrutiny six candidates are now contesting for the post of chairman.

 arrow Over Tk 2 cr smuggled goods seized
BDR seized smuggled goods worth 2,09, 79, 422 taka from different bordering areas in the district during the last four months.
 arrow Tragic
Mother Anjana Nath, 30, committed suicide after killing her four year-old daughter Sumana at Patihar village under Agailjhara upazila allegedly after a feud with her husband Nikunja Nath.
 arrow Student killed for toll?
Mystery shrouds the death of a second year student of Kushtia Polytechnic Institute at his Choraikol village home in Kumarkhali upazila on Monday.
Point-Counterpointarrow South Asia's women garment workers
EACH day, 20-year old Farida leaves her home in the slums of Dhaka and walks for one hour to her job at the Dalia Garment Factory.
 arrow Golam Mohiuddin
Very recently, we lost a very dear friend; the students of BUET, an engrossing teacher; the Professors of BUET, a trusted colleague; Ranik and Arup, a loving father; Rasheda Bhabi, a devoted husband
Culturearrow Keeping alive the Nazrul mystique
While channel surfing, early in the morning yesterday, a special programme on selected songs of Nazrul on Channel-i caught my immediate attention.
 arrow Glamour girl of the small screen
Amidst the stream of advertisements on the TV, the Cosmos Biscuit ad attracts attention possibly due to two reasons.
 arrow 'A magician needs to have a scientific mentality' --Jewel Aich
In a recent interview Shilpi Mahalanobish of The Daily Star (TDS) spoke to magician Jewel Aich (JA). Here are some excerpts from the interview.
 arrow Moore film shows US Iraqi abuse
Oscar-winning director Michael Moore has screened at the Cannes Film Festival 2004 what he claims is the first film footage of US soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners.
Generalarrow Consensus on nat'l issues can help end confrontational politics
Building consensus on major national issues can help end confrontational politics, speakers said at a seminar in the city yesterday.
 arrow Two get death
A Speedy Trial Tribunal of Sylhet yesterday sentenced two men to death in the sensational Dr Aftab Hossain murder case.

Dr Aftab was the assistant director of Sylhet MAG Osmani Medical College Hospital.

 arrow Death threats to RU teachers protested
About 200 pro-liberation teachers of Rajshahi University (RU) yesterday brought out a silent procession on the campus protesting the death threats to former vice-chancellor and other teachers by the newly
 arrow 'Peacekeeping a foreign policy priority'
Peacekeeping is a foreign policy priority for Bangladesh, said Dr Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury, ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations.
 arrow ACD workshop begins in China May 22
Agriculture Minister M K Anwar left here for Beijing yesterday to attend a two-day minister-level continental workshop on agriculture development to be held on May 22-23.
 arrow Bar Council election results on Friday
Results of Bangladesh Bar Council election will be announced on Friday.

Earlier, May 19 has been fixed for the announcement of the results.

 arrow 'Preserve thousand yrs' history, heritage'
Information Minister M Shamsul Islam yesterday called upon the authorities concerned to preserve the thousand years' history and heritage of the nation in museum and unveil those before the world community.
 arrow Duta demands separate pay scale
Dhaka University Teachers' Association (Duta) handed over their demand papers comprising separate pay scale and marginal facilities of teachers to Vice Chancellor Prof SMA Faiz at his office yesterday.
 arrow Death anniversary
Today is the ninth death anniversary of veteran journalist Kazi Kabir Uddin Ahmed.

On this day in 1995, Kazi Kabir, editor of the now-defunct Daily Azan, died of old age complication at the age of94.

Internationalarrow Myanmar junta rapped over constitutional talks
Myanmar's junta was hit yesterday with international criticism for holding constitutional talks without Aung San Suu Kyi's pro-democracy opposition, which said it feared a new crackdown.
 arrow Media castigates BJP for raising storm over Sonia's foreign origin
India's media yesterday castigated the Hindu nationalists for raising a storm over the foreign origins of leader-in-waiting, Italian-born Sonia Gandhi.
 arrow 'Child prisoners face abuse in Asian jails'
Child prisoners in Asia are experiencing inhumane treatment and are at risk of sexual exploitation and drug abuse, Unicef warned as it called for a regional judicial overhaul for the young.
 arrow Sistani urges US forces to leave Najaf & Kerbala
Iraq's foremost Shia cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, called on US forces and Shia militia fighters to withdraw from the holy cities of Najaf and Kerbala yesterday.
 arrow US assessing reports of sarin gas in Iraq
The United States, which invaded Iraq over alleged weapons of mass destruction, said on Monday an exploded artillery shell found there will be tested further to confirm indications that it was armed with
 arrow US intelligence told prison guards how to interrogate
The officer in charge of interrogations at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison said intelligence officers sometimes instructed the military police on pre-interrogation techniques, The New York Times said.
 arrow Dozens of gays wed in US state
Dozens of gays exchanged wedding vows on Monday when Massachusetts became the first US state to allow same-sex marriage, a move hailed by some as a civil rights milestone and denounced by others as afatal
 arrow A hard look at Indian polls
Elections 2004 have thrown up some interesting statistics, which were released by the Election Commission here Monday:

There was just one voter in polling station No.

 arrow 43 Indonesian councillors convicted of taking graft
In an unprecedented measure in the Indonesia's recent history, a court here has virtually destroyed the legitimacy of a provincial legislative council.
 arrow Azerbaijani plane crashes in China: 7 dead
An Azerbaijani cargo plane crashed in China's northwestern Xinjiang region yesterday, killing its seven crew and narrowly missing houses after running into trouble soon after take off.
 arrow Pressure mounts on Malaysia over 'Iraq-style' torture claims
Pressure mounted on the Malaysian government yesterday to investigate claims of the torture of prisoners which human rights groups have likened to the abuse of Iraqi detainees by US troops.
Editorialarrow Editorial: Tact missing in political language
Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia in her valedictory speech at the prorogation of the parliament's session on Monday offered the Opposition an olive branch on the one hand, and took it away, on the other.
 arrow Editorial: Time to eat the humble pie!
The recent assassination of the head of the Iraqi Governing Council, Abu Zahra Osman Mohammad, indicates the deep resentment of the Iraqi public towards and distrust of the IGC.
 arrow Why did the BJP lose the election?
Credit must go to India's democratic traditions. It is robust, alive and kicking as the Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee decided to resign within hours of the news of defeat of the BJP.
 arrow Corruption: Costs and effects
According to many political scientists, 'corruption in a country undermines the legitimacy of its political institutions and thus the government is less able to rely on the cooperation and support ofthe
 arrow A grand opportunity missed
Geographically Cyprus, the third largest island in the Mediterranean, has an area of 9251 sq km and lies only 40 miles south of Turkey.
Letters to Editorarrow Shrine pets under attack
It seems the killer instinct in some 'humans' is not satisfied by taking the lives of other human beings, now they are after other species.
 arrow Death of majar fish
It has been noticed that similar incidents of deaths of fish in the ponds of majars have occurred in different locations in Bangladesh. This time a couple of incidents have occurred in quicksuccession.
 arrow Indian elections
India is definitely not a far away country from ours. More or less we share a common background. I congratulate the people of India for showing their maturity in the conduct of recently held elections.
 arrow Predictions go awry
At last the Congress is back. They have won. Priyanka and Rahul's charisma has worked and Sonia Gandhi is going to be the next prime minister . This result has signified:


 arrow Wrong winner!
I cannot absorb the shock of the Congress winning the Indian elections.
 arrow Downfall of BJP
In the recently concluded elections, the BJP experienced a massive debacle in most of the states.
 arrow Pot festival?
The Daily Star is an impartial newspaper. I always appreciate this fact. This newspaper is basically committed to people's right to know and I also believe in that principle .
 arrow Hero or zero?
This is a reference to a news title, " US contractor fired for military coffin photo" and a snapshot published in DS international page an 24 April, 2004.
 arrow Fixed phone in private sector
The BTRC has given the land-line telephone network licence to a private company. The state owned monopoly, the BTTB, has provided only 800,000 land phones.
 arrow Election campaign
A few days back as I was coming from Gulshan towards Karwan Bazar, there was a huge traffic jam. It started from Tejgaon and extended towards Moghbazar.
 arrow Racism in a different form?
I have a very delicate case here, so please be careful. Someone once froze me by asking a very awkward question. He said, when a white person calls us black, we object to it and say he/she is a racist.
 arrow DESA blackout
It was just 6.35 in the evening, a few minutes before the call for Maghreb prayer, when many areas of Mohammadpur, Shyamoly, Adabar plunged into darkness on May 13.
 arrow Unmask those playmakers
On May 10, Ershad Shikder, a notorious killer, a felon, land grabber ,was hanged. People across the country are happy with his execution.
 arrow Disgusting ethics
After subjecting Iraqis to criminal sanctions for more than a decade, the consequence of which led to the death of half a million children then invading Iraq, destroying property and infrastructurewith
 arrow Vigilante group
This refers to a news report published in two instalments recently in your esteemed daily concerning the rise of one Bangla Bhai in Northern Bangladesh, who is helping the government in eliminating the
 arrow Extortionists at work
My father, a few minutes back, received a phone call from a well-known goon of Mirpur. The guy demanded 'chada' .
 arrow "Attitude towards private universities"
In response to my letter "Attitude towards private universities", dated 7/5/04, Mr. Saif wrote on 9/5/04.To that reference, I want to remove some of his misconceptions.
StarTecharrow IUB participates in the ESDP project along with UK and German varsities
The country could now well be a technologically developing nation with the 'E' being synonymous with 'Electronic' standard in every form of business today.
 arrow 3-Day Nirvana for game lovers unveils new software
I used to think a three-ring circus offered the ultimate in sensory overload -- until I went to Los Angeles for an Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3.
 arrow Crater rocks may hold more clues to Mars' wet past
The Mars rover Opportunity began scanning a stadium-sized crater for clues to what the Red Planet was like before volcanic eruptions covered its surface in lava, NASA scientists said on Monday.
Star Chittagongarrow Dewanhat Lope Road Project put on ice
At last the Dewanhat Lope Road Project of Chittagong Development Authority (CDA) was put on ice after completion of over 90 per cent of the construction work done at a cost of Tk 3.5 crore.
 arrow Ramu Rubber Garden in bad shape
Ramu Rubber Garden, most viable rubber garden of the country at Ramu upazila about 20km off Cox's Bazar town, is losing its existence gradually.
Star Cityarrow Billboards creep into DU campus
Billboards have crept into Dhaka University (DU) campus in what could be the latest threat of visual pollution.
 arrow Water crisis amid scorchers makes life a misery
Amid scorchers, acute water crisis has gripped many areas of the city making people's life a misery.
 arrow Marking the Museum Day

 arrow National Debate Festival opens tomorrow
The Dhaka University Debating Society is going to host the third National Debate Festival from May 20-22 at the Teachers and Students Centre (TSC).
 arrow City planners must consider all sections of society
Speakers at a seminar called for a planned city sustainable for all sections of society and also stressed the need for including their opinions in the proposed '2004 Dhaka Detail Area Plan'.
 arrow Sex workers roam DU campus at night
Dhaka University (DU) and its adjacent areas have become a haven for floating sex workers like most other parts of the capital.
 arrow Ikon Photo Starts Journey